To Satan; let him tempt and now assay
His utmost subtlety, because he boasts

And vaunts of his great cunning to the throng 145
Of his apostasy; he might have learnt
Less overweening since he fail'd in Job,
Whose constant perseverance overcame
Whate'er his cruel malice could invent.

He now shall know I can produce a Man


Of female seed, far abler to resist

All his solicitations, and at length

All his vast force, and drive him back to Hell,
Winning by conquest what the first man lost
By fallacy surpris'd. But first I mean
To exercise him in the wilderness,
There he shall first lay down the rudiments
Of his great warfare, ere I send him forth


To conquer Sin and Death, the two grand foes,
By humiliation and strong sufferance:

His weakness shall o'ercome Satanic strength,
And all the world, and mass of sinful flesh;
That all the angels and ethereal powers,

They now, and men hereafter may discern,
From what consummate virtue I have chose

This perfect Man, by merit call'd my Son,
To earn salvation for the sons of men.

So spake th' eternal Father, and all Heav'n'
Admiring stood a space, then into hymns



Burst forth, and in celestial measures mov'd, 170 Circling the throne and singing, while the hand Sung with the voice, and this the argument.

Victory' and triumph to the Son of God
Now entring his greal duel, not of arms,
But to vanquish by wisdom hellish wiles.
The Father knows the Son; therefore secure
Ventures his filial virtue, though untry'd,
Against whate'er may tempt, whate'er seduce,
Allure, or terrify, or undermine.

Be frustrate all ye stratagems of Hell,
And devilish machinations come to nought.




So they in Heav'n their odes and vigils tun'd: Mean while the Son of God, who yet some days Lodg'd in Bethabara where John baptiz'd, Musing and much revolving in his breast, How best the mighty work he might begin Of Saviour to mankind, and which way first Publish his God-like office now mature, One day forth walk'd alone, the Spirit leading, And his deep thoughts, the better to converse 190 With Solitude, till far from track of men, Thought following thought, and step by step led on, He enter'd now the bord'ring desert wild, And with dark shades and rocks environ'd round, His holy meditations thus pursu'd.

O what a multitude of thoughts at once Awaken'd in me swarm, while I consider What from within I feel myself, and hear What from without comes often to my ears, Ill sorting with my present state compar'd! When I was yet a child, no childish play To me was pleasing; all my mind was set Volume III,





Serious to learn and know, and thence to do
What might be public good; myself I thought
Born to that end, born to promote all truth,
All righteous things: therefore above my years,
The law of God I read, and found it sweet,
Made it my whole delight, and in it grew
To such perfection, that ere yet my age
Had measur'd twice six years, at our great feast
I went into the temple, there to hear
The teachers of our law, and to propose
What might improve my knowledge or their own;
And was admir'd by all; yet this not all



To which my spi'rit aspir'd; victorious deeds 215
Flam'd in my heart, heroic acts, one while
To rescue Israel from the Roman yoke,
Then to subdue and quell o'er all the earth
Brute violence and proud tyrannic power,
Till truth were freed, and equity restor❜d :
Yet held it more humane, more heav'nly first
By winning words to conquer willing hearts,
And make persuasion do the work of Fear;
At least to try, and teach the erring soul
Not wilfully mis-doing, but unware
Misled; the stubborn only to subdue.
These growing thoughts my mother soon perceiving
By words at times cast forth, inly rejoic'd,
And said to me apart, High are thy thoughts,
O Son, but nourish them and let them soar
To what highth sacred virtue and true worth
Can raise them, though above example high;




By matchless deeds express thy matchless Sire.
For know, thou art no son of mortal man ;
Though men esteem thee low of parentage,
Thy Father is th' eternal King who rules
All Heav'n and Earth, angels and sons of men;
A messenger from God foretold thy birth
Conceiv'd in me a virgin, he foretold

Thou should'st be great, and sit on David's throne,
And of thy kingdom there should be no end. 241
At thy nativity a glorious quire

Of angels in the fields of Bethlehem sung


To shepherds watching at their folds by night,
And told them the Messiah now was born,
Where they might see him, and to thee they came,
Directed to the manger where thou lay’st,
For in the inn was left no better room:

A star, not seen before, in Heav'n appearing
Guided the Wise Men thither from the East, 250
To honor thee with incense, myrrh, and gold,
By whose bright course led on they found the place,
Affirming it thy star new grav'n in Heaven,
By which they knew the King of Israel born.
Just Simeon and prophetic Anna, warn'd
By vision, found thee in the temple', and spake
Before the altar and the vested priest,
Like things of thee to all that present stood.
This having heard, strait I again revolv'd


The Law and Prophets, searching what was writ Concerning the Messiah, to our scribes


Known partly, and soon found of whom they spake
I am; this chiefly, that my way must lie
Through many a hard assay ev'n to the death,
Ere I the promis'd kingdom can attain,
Or work redemption for mankind, whose sins'
Full weight must be transferr'd upon my head.
Yet neither thus dishearten'd or dismay'd,
The time prefix'd I waited, when behold


The Baptist (of whose birth I oft had heard, 270 Not knew by sight) now come, who was to come Before Messiah and his way prepare.

I as all others to his baptism came,

Which I believ'd was from above; but he



Strait knew me, and with loudest voice proclam'd
Me him (for it was shown him so from Heaven)
Me him whose harbinger he was; and first
Refus'd on me his baptism to confer,
As much his greater, and was hardly won :
But as I rose out of the laving stream,
Heav'n open'd her eternal doors, from whence
The Spirit descended on me like a dove,
And last the sum of all, my Father's voice,
Audibly heard from Heav'n, pronounc'd me his,
Me his beloved Son, in whom alone


He was well pleas'd; by which I knew the time
Now full, that I no more should live obscure,
But openly begin, as best becomes

Th' authority which I deriv'd from Heav'n.
And now by some strong motion I am led 290

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